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5. Better mood. Getting enough sleep won't guarantee a sunny disposition. But you have probably noticed that when you're exhausted, you're more likely to be cranky. That's not all. "Not getting enough sleep affects your emotional regulation," says Mindell. "When you're overtired, you're more likely to snap at your boss, or burst into tears, or start laughing uncontrollably."

6. Better weight control. Getting enough sleep could help you maintain your weight -- and conversely, sleep loss goes along with an increased risk of weight gain. Why? Part of the problem is behavioral. If you're overtired, you might be less likely to have the energy to go for that jog or cook a healthy dinner after work.

The other part is physiological. The hormone leptin plays a key role in making you feel full. When you don't get enough sleep, leptin levels drop. Result: people who are tired are just plain hungrier -- and they seem to crave high-fat and high-calorie foods specifically.

7. Clearer thinking. Have you ever woken up after a bad night's sleep, feeling fuzzy and easily confused, like your brain can't get out of first gear?

"Sleep loss affects how you think," Mindell tells WebMD. "It impairs your cognition, your attention, and your decision-making." Studies have found that people who are sleep-deprived are substantially worse at solving logic or math problems than when they're well-rested. "They're also more likely to make odd mistakes, like leaving their keys in the fridge by accident," she tells WebMD.

8. Better memory. Feeling forgetful? Sleep loss could be to blame. Studies have shown that while we sleep, our brains process and consolidate our memories from the day. If you don't get enough sleep, it seems like those memories might not get stored correctly -- and can be lost.

What's more, some research suggests that sleep decreases the chances of developing false memories. In several experiments, people were asked to look over a series of words. Later they were tested on what they remembered. People who didn't sleep in between were much more likely to "remember" a word that they hadn't actually seen before.

9. Stronger immunity. Could getting enough sleep prevent the common cold? One preliminary study put the idea to the test. Researchers tracked over 150 people and monitored their sleep habits for two weeks. Then they exposed them to a cold virus.

People who got seven hours of sleep a night or less were almost three times as likely to get sick as the people who got at least eight hours of sleep a night. More research is needed to establish a real link; this study was small and other factors may have influenced the results. Still, you can’t go wrong getting eight hours of sleep when possible.

How to Sleep Better

Fight sleep problems with exercise, snacks, and more.
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